May 23, 2007

10 Secrets to a Successful Ironman Finish

Have you ever noticed that there are always 10 secrets to being succesful in something? A search on the internet reveals the following:

"The 10 Secrets to Being Rich"

"The 10 Secrets to a Better Life"

"The 10 Secrets to Being a Master Networker"

"The 10 Secrets to Getting Into the Best B-School"

It goes on and on. I guess some of these "secrets" are worth reading about. But it all comes down to whether it works for you personally or not. If it does great. if not, then just find something that does. So, in that spirit, I've come up with the 10 Secrets to a Successful Ironman Finish (including Training for one). Please keep in mind that I am a one time IM finisher so I'm not the expert. But it's in my quest for a 2nd consecutive IM finish that I have learned some secrets that might help. Here goes:

1. Stay Injury Free. Try to, anyway. If you do get injured-get it treated right away. Don't Wait! It may get worse.

2. Follow a Training Plan. There are alot of free ones out there. The book IronFit has plans for 3 different levels which work. I used the competitive finish plan. Or you could hire a coach. A more expensive way to go but effective.

3. Use a Heart Rate Monitor. It's a long day. You need to train with one to develop a good base and you need to race with one to make sure you have something left in the tank near the end.

4. Talk to IM Finishers. Someone who has finished an IM, specifically the IM you are signed up for, can be an invaluable source of information about the race, the course, where to stay, etc.

5. Visit the Race Course & Train there. Take a weekend and go visit the race site. Ride the bike course, hit the run course and do the swim, if possible. I didn't do that the first time and wished I had.

6. Get Your Nutrition Right. Practice your Nutrition on your long training rides and long training runs. Once your plan is set, don't introduce anything new on race day. FYI, try to drink the same drink that will be given out during the race.

7. Prep the Family. This should really be more like, get the family buy-in. This is critical. I've said it before but worth stating again.

8. Keep a Journal. I find it helpful to record my training activities, how certain nutritional supplements work, training methods that worked, how I felt during a specific training run, etc. I also use an on-line service ( to record data. You can bet very technical here. I don't. I use the basics.

9. Sleep. Find the right number of hours, probably 7 or 8, that work for you and stick with it. This is a hard one but can really help especially those last 3 to 4 weeks before the race.

10. Have Fun. The mental part of training can be brutal. I know when you get 2 months out before race day, it keep be overbearing. Don't be afraid to skip a workout here and there (not too many), take a day off (don't train 7 days a week) and make sure you are having fun. If it's not fun, is it worth it? Every Monday is my day off, which helps after tough weekends.

Happy Training!

May 15, 2007

Nagging Injuires

I have 25 days to the Eagleman 70.3. It's about 67 days to Lake Placid. And I haven't run in about 10 days. And before that 10 days, I had only run minimally because of my knees. The injury that has me on the sidelines now is the left foot & ankle. The x-rays were negative but it's just not healing. I've reached that point where I want to just test it even though I still feel pain. Losing patience. But should I wait a little longer to see if it gets better? The thoughts are playing havoc with my psyche. Plus, I don't know if I'll be ready in time for either race. Should I skip the half? Should I do the swim and bike only?

Whine, whine, whine. Enough already!

It's just that you put all this time in, then you get injured and now I might not be able to race.

Depressing. OK, I'm done.

Moving on.

May 14, 2007

Quote of the Day, #2 Revealed

Jack Nicklaus.

He was a golfer not a triathlete but don't his words reveal the inner core of why we do triathlon? Because we enjoy it. I'm not sure we enjoy the pain but it's more the accomplishment of crossing the finish line. Of completing the journey. There are so many inspirational triathletes out there that doing their best. Because, they enjoy it.

May 09, 2007

Quote of the Day #2

Here it is:

"I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best
at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something
you don't enjoy."

Who said this? I will reveal the source on Friday.

May 07, 2007

My Left Foot II

Two words: Nagging injuries. We’ve all had them at some point during our triathlon training. I’ve noticed that some of my training partners don’t get then as severe as I do. Why is that? Do I have a lower threshold of pain? I don’t think so. Maybe, it’s just the way our individual bodies are constructed. In 2004, I was training for the NYC marathon, my first, when I came down with runner’s knee. The knee hurt so severely that it just shut me down one day when I was out on a training run. I was less than a mile from home and I just couldn’t run anymore on it. So, I walked home or hobbled home rather. Since then, the knees haven’t been the same. I never ran that marathon or any other, except the one in IM last year. However, my knee’s still bother me. To help alleviate the pain and in order to compete, I need to constantly stretch and see a physical therapist. I also have the fear that if I run too much in any given week, I’ll re-injure the knee and not be ready for my next event. I’m not supporting the family with my triathlon adventures but it’s what I like to do so it’s frustrating.

Now, I have a new injury to report, My Left Foot II. (I call it that because I want to avoid any confusion with the Daniel Day-Lewis movie, My Left Foot, a few years back.) Bad humor I know. I’ve already been told that by the family. But they just don’t get it. Nor do they appreciate my constant whining about My Left Foot II. You see, all I worry about now is whether the foot will be ready to go for July 22. The next 10 weeks are critical in my IM training. Plus I have a half-Ironman coming up on June 10, the Eagleman 70.3. I need to run now to be ready. So, as if it will help me, I hobble around the house, letting out little gasps of pain and a whine here and there. I didn’t think anyone was hearing me until this morning. As I was trying to make a doctor appointment and getting frustrated that my doctor of choice couldn’t see me this week; my wife let it be known that I should see any doctor so the rest of the family didn’t have to listen to me complain anymore. Ooh that hurt. But I faced it like an Ironman and understood where she was coming from. I do tend to do that. Whine that is.

With both races bearing down on me, I need to stay on track with training. I need to heal My Left Foot II. I need to take care of the knees. And I need to shut up. My good friend Pat once gave me a shirt that read “Just Shut Up and Train”. Good advice. All too often, as triathletes we get twisted up into the “Me Campaign”. It’s not about me. It’s about them. The family allows me to do this crazy stuff. And it takes a lot away from them. As triathlete warriors, we all need to be aware of that. (If you are already, I apologize, I didn’t mean you) But I sometimes forget. The other day, my daughter said, “You’re never here anymore.” Not altogether true but true enough for me to listen. Good advice. It was very good advice.